Gary Numan Jagged

What do you do when you’re the inventor of a sound that almost 30 years ago spawned a whole genre of its own and has since been co-opted by numerous artists who used it to become bigger than you ever were? Well, if you’re synth pop icon Gary Numan you repay the favour by making a record that sounds like one of those artists who likely wouldn’t exist without you. Yes, Trent Reznor, I’m looking at you. Jagged, Numan’s 17th record and latest attempt at a comeback, finds the man a tormented and love-starved wreck, and the artist an inspired, creative force. Having now completely abandoned the electronic dance music pap he was making in the 1990s, Numan has re-invented himself as an industrial goth-meister à la Nine Inch Nails. Far from the cars and parks he sang about early in his career, Numan is now about the big hurt and the music is suitably dark and brooding. Although it represents his best work since 1979’s The Pleasure Principle, Jagged does get a little too bogged down in its own seriousness, and the quiet-loud-quiet format of most of the songs start to sound a little repetitive. However, as an artist, Numan hasn’t been this good or relevant in a very long time. Welcome back. (Metropolis)